Good friend and gifted author, Margarita Montimore, returns to The Spotlight to discuss her latest book, Acts of Violet
Author Name: Margarita Montimore
Book Title: Acts of Violet
Book Genre: Book Club Fiction
Release Date: July 5, 2022
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Welcome back, Margarita! Please tell us a bit about Acts of Violet.
Thanks for having me back!
Acts of Violet is about a famous magician, Violet Volk, who vanishes in the middle of a performance, leaving her sister Sasha to make sense of the disappearance and their turbulent relationship in the ensuing decade. The novel is comprised of narrative chapters, podcast transcripts, news clippings, letters, and other media.
What drew you to the idea of writing about a very famous magician?
I wanted to explore celebrity culture, but in a unique way. There are plenty of stories about famous musicians, actors, writers, and artists, so I considered creative fields that aren’t represented in literature as frequently. I also wanted to put a new spin on the missing person story and give it a surreal twist, so it made perfect sense to write about a magician who pulls off the ultimate vanishing act.
This is also a story about the close and often fraught relationship between two sisters. Can you tell what inspired you to write about this specific relationship?
Being an only child, I often wished for a sister when I was growing up. Like Sasha says in the novel, I thought it would be a way to have a built-in best friend. As I got older, I realized sibling relationships are far more nuanced and complicated, and I wanted to explore what that might look like for a pair of sisters who are vastly different but also often blind to the similarities they do share.
I imagine you had to do a lot of research to make the performance and magic elements ring true. Would you mind elaborating on that?
I read up stage magic quite a bit and watched performance videos as well as clips revealing how effects are done. I also listened to a number of podcast interviews featuring women in magic—once I discovered men make up over 90% of the population of professional magicians, it became that much more important to understand and faithfully portray the female perspective in this industry. Shezam was a great resource for this, and I was fortunate that one of its creators, magician Kayla Drescher, was kind enough to allow me to interview her as part of my research—getting firsthand insight from her was invaluable.
Any current books, TV shows, movies on your radar these days?
Severance is the best TV show I’ve seen in the past year, hands down. Everything Everywhere All at Once is the best movie I’ve seen in the past decade. As for books, Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir In the Dream House, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, and Tana French’s The Likeness are a few titles that have recently blown me away.
Can you tell us about what you’re working on now?
An idea I’ve had in the works for over eighteen (!) years now. Without giving too much away, I believe it’ll appeal to fans of The Measure and The Midnight Library.
Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?
Thank you, Margarita! Acts of Violet is available everywhere NOW.
Nearly a decade ago, iconic magician Violet Volk performed her greatest trick yet: vanishing mid-act. Though she hasn’t been seen since, her hold on the public hasn’t wavered. While Violet sought out the spotlight, her sister Sasha, ever the responsible one, took over their mother’s salon and built a quiet life for her daughter, Quinn. But Sasha can never seem to escape her sister’s orbit or her memories of their unresolved, tumultuous relationship. Then there’s Cameron Frank, determined to finally get his big break hosting a podcast devoted to all things Violet—though keeping his job hinges on an exclusive interview with Sasha, the last person who wants to talk to him.
As the ten-year anniversary approaches, the podcast picks up steam, and Cameron’s pursuit of Sasha becomes increasingly intrusive. He isn’t the only one wondering what secrets she might be keeping: Quinn, loyal to the aunt she always idolized, is doing her own investigating. Meanwhile, Sasha begins to experience an unsettling series of sleepwalking episodes and coincidences, which all lead back to Violet. Pushed to her emotional limits, Sasha must finally confront the most painful truths about her sister, and herself, even at the risk of losing everything.
Alternating between Sasha’s narration and Cameron’s podcast transcripts, interspersed with documents that offer a tantalizing peek at Violet herself, Acts of Violet is an utterly original, propulsive story of fame, deception, and forgiveness that will make you believe in magic.
Margarita Montimore is the author of Asleep from Day (2018), Oona Out of Order (2020), and Acts of Violet (2022). Oona Out of Order—a national bestseller and Good Morning America Book Club pick—is currently being adapted for television by Amazon Studios.
After receiving a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, she worked for over a decade in publishing and social media before deciding to focus on the writing dream full-time. Born in Soviet Ukraine and raised in Brooklyn, she currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and dog.